The Return of the Heroes
8 Toil on heroes! harvest the products! Not alone on those warlike fields the Mother of All, With dilated form and lambent eyes watch'd you. Toil on heroes! toil well! handle the weapons well! The Mother of All, yet here as ever she watches you. Well-pleased America thou beholdest, Over the fields of the West those crawling monsters, The human-divine inventions, the labor-saving implements; Beholdest moving in every direction imbued as with life the revolving hay-rakes, The steam-power reaping-machines and the horse-power machines The engines, thrashers of grain and cleaners of grain, well separating the straw, the nimble work of the patent pitchfork, Beholdest the newer saw-mill, the southern cotton-gin, and the rice-cleanser. Beneath thy look O Maternal, With these and else and with their own strong hands the heroes harvest. All gather and all harvest, Yet but for thee O Powerful, not a scythe might swing as now in security, Not a maize-stalk dangle as now its silken tassels in peace. Under thee only they harvest, even but a wisp of hay under thy great face only, Harvest the wheat of Ohio, Illinois, Wisconsin, every barbed spear under thee, Harvest the maize of Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, each ear in its light-green sheath, Gather the hay to its myriad mows in the odorous tranquil barns, Oats to their bins, the white potato, the buckwheat of Michigan, to theirs; Gather the cotton in Mississippi or Alabama, dig and hoard the golden the sweet potato of Georgia and the Carolinas, Clip the wool of California or Pennsylvania, Cut the flax in the Middle States, or hemp or tobacco in the Borders, Pick the pea and the bean, or pull apples from the trees or bunches of grapes from the vines, Or aught that ripens in all these States or North or South, Under the beaming sun and under thee.
Posted on 05/04/2015, in literature, poetry and tagged 19th Century Poetry, American literature, American poets, Daily Whitman, free verse, Leaves of Grass, literature, poems, poetry, Transcendentalists, Walt Whitman. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.